Open Access Articles- Top Results for Radon
International Journal of Advanced Research in Electrical, Electronics and Instrumentation EnergyRadon Activity and Radon Exhalation Rates From Some Soil Samples By Using SSNTD
International Journal of Advanced Research in Electrical, Electronics and Instrumentation EnergyImage Denoising Method Using curvelet Transform and Wiener Filter
International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental SciencesA MORPHOMETRIC STUDY ON DIFFERENT REGIONS OF THE SKIN IN LORIBAKHTIARI SHEEP AT DIFFERENT AGES
Journal of Earth Science & Climatic ChangeLong-Memory Trends in Disturbances of Radon in Soil Prior to the Twin ML=5.1 Earthquakes of 17 November 2014 Greece
Journal of Physical Chemistry & BiophysicsHurst Exponent Analysis of Indoor Radon Profiles of Greek Apartment Dwellings
File:Radon spectrum visible.png|
Spectral lines of radon
|Name, symbol||radon, Rn|
|Appearance||colorless gas, occasionally glows green or red in discharge tubes|
|Radon in the periodic table|
|Template:Infobox element/periodic table|
|Standard atomic weight||(222)|
|Element category||noble gas|
|Group, block||group 18 (noble gases), p-block|
|Electron configuration||[Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s2 6p6|
|per shell||2, 8, 18, 32, 18, 8|
|Melting point||202 K (−71 °C, −96 °F)|
|Boiling point||211.5 K (−61.7 °C, −79.1 °F)|
|Density at stp (0 °C and 101.325 kPa)||9.73 g·L−1|
|when liquid, at b.p.||4.4 g·cm−3|
|Critical point||377 K, 6.28 MPa|
|Heat of fusion||3.247 kJ·mol−1|
|Heat of vaporization||18.10 kJ·mol−1|
|Molar heat capacity||5R/2 = 20.786 J·mol−1·K−1|
|Oxidation states||6, 2, 0|
|Electronegativity||Pauling scale: 2.2|
|Ionization energies||1st: 1037 kJ·mol−1|
|Covalent radius||150 pm|
|Van der Waals radius||220 pm|
|Crystal structure||face-centered cubic (fcc)|
|Thermal conductivity||3.61×10−3</sup> W·m−1·K−1|
|1||~0.027|| Radon concentration at the shores of large oceans is typically 1 Bq/m3.
Radon trace concentration above oceans or in Antarctica can be lower than 0.1 Bq/m3.
|10||0.27|| Mean continental concentration in the open air: 10 to 30 Bq/m3.
Based on a series of surveys, the global mean indoor radon concentration is estimated to be 39 Bq/m3.
|100||2.7||Typical indoor domestic exposure. Most countries have adopted a radon concentration of 200–400 Bq/m3 for indoor air as an Action or Reference Level. If testing shows levels less than 4 picocuries radon per liter of air (150 Bq/m3), then no action is necessary. A cumulated exposure of 230 Bq/m3 of radon gas concentration during a period of 1 year corresponds to 1 WLM. Allowable concentrations in uranium mines are approximately 1,220 Bq/m3 (33 pCi/L)|
|1,000||27||Very high radon concentrations (>1000 Bq/m3) have been found in houses built on soils with a high uranium content and/or high permeability of the ground. If levels are 20 picocuries radon per liter of air (800 Bq/m3) or higher, the home owner should consider some type of procedure to decrease indoor radon levels.|
The concentration in the air at the (unventilated) Gastein Healing Gallery averages 43 kBq/m3 (about 1.2 nCi/L) with maximal value of 160 kBq/m3 (about 4.3 nCi/L).
|1,000,000||27000||Concentrations reaching 1,000,000 Bq/m3 can be found in unventilated uranium mines.|
An early-20th-century form of quackery was the treatment of maladies in a radiotorium. It was a small, sealed room for patients to be exposed to radon for its "medicinal effects". The carcinogenic nature of radon due to its ionizing radiation became apparent later on. Radon's molecule-damaging radioactivity has been used to kill cancerous cells. It does not, however, increase the health of healthy cells. In fact, the ionizing radiation causes the formation of free radicals, which results in genetic and other cell damage, resulting in increased rates of illness, including cancer.
Exposure to radon, a process known as radiation hormesis, has been suggested to mitigate auto-immune diseases such as arthritis. As a result, in the late 20th century and early 21st century, "health mines" established in Basin, Montana attracted people seeking relief from health problems such as arthritis through limited exposure to radioactive mine water and radon. However, the practice is discouraged because of the well-documented ill effects of high-doses of radiation on the body.
Radioactive water baths have been applied since 1906 in Jáchymov, Czech Republic, but even before radon discovery they were used in Bad Gastein, Austria. Radium-rich springs are also used in traditional Japanese onsen in Misasa, Tottori Prefecture. Drinking therapy is applied in Bad Brambach, Germany. Inhalation therapy is carried out in Gasteiner-Heilstollen, Austria, in Świeradów-Zdrój, Czerniawa-Zdrój, Kowary, Lądek Zdrój, Poland, in Harghita Băi, Romania, and in Boulder, United States. In the United States and Europe there are several "radon spas," where people sit for minutes or hours in a high-radon atmosphere in the belief that low doses of radiation will invigorate or energize them.
Radon has been produced commercially for use in radiation therapy, but for the most part has been replaced by radionuclides made in accelerators and nuclear reactors. Radon has been used in implantable seeds, made of gold or glass, primarily used to treat cancers. The gold seeds were produced by filling a long tube with radon pumped from a radium source, the tube being then divided into short sections by crimping and cutting. The gold layer keeps the radon within, and filters out the alpha and beta radiations, while allowing the gamma rays to escape (which kill the diseased tissue). The activities might range from 0.05 to 5 millicuries per seed (2 to 200 MBq). The gamma rays are produced by radon and the first short-lived elements of its decay chain (218Po, 214Pb, 214Bi, 214Po).
Radon and its first decay products being very short-lived, the seed is left in place. After 12 half-lives (43 days), radon radioactivity is at 1/2000 of its original level. At this stage, the predominant residual activity originates from the radon decay product 210Pb, whose half-life (22.3 years) is 2000 times that of radon (and whose activity is thus 1/2000 of radon's), and its descendants 210Bi and 210Po.
In the early part of the 20th century in the USA, gold contaminated with 210Pb entered the jewelry industry. This was from gold seeds that had held 222Rn that had been melted down after the radon had decayed.
Radon emanation from the soil varies with soil type and with surface uranium content, so outdoor radon concentrations can be used to track air masses to a limited degree. This fact has been put to use by some atmospheric scientists. Because of radon's rapid loss to air and comparatively rapid decay, radon is used in hydrologic research that studies the interaction between ground water and streams. Any significant concentration of radon in a stream is a good indicator that there are local inputs of ground water.
Radon soil-concentration has been used in an experimental way to map buried close-subsurface geological faults because concentrations are generally higher over the faults. Similarly, it has found some limited use in prospecting for geothermal gradients.
Some researchers have investigated changes in groundwater radon concentrations for earthquake prediction. Radon has a half-life of approximately 3.8 days, which means that it can be found only shortly after it has been produced in the radioactive decay chain. For this reason, it has been hypothesized that increases in radon concentration is due to the generation of new cracks underground, which would allow increased ground water circulation, flushing out radon. The generation of new cracks might not unreasonably be assumed to precede major earthquakes. In the 1970s and 1980s, scientific measurements of radon emissions near faults found that earthquakes often occurred with no radon signal, and radon was often detected with no earthquake to follow. It was then dismissed by many as an unreliable indicator. However, as of 2009, it is under investigation as a possible precursor by NASA.
Radon is a known pollutant emitted from geothermal power stations because it is present in the material pumped from deep underground. However, it disperses rapidly, and no radiological hazard has been demonstrated in various investigations. In addition, typical systems re-inject the material deep underground rather that releasing it at the surface, so its environmental impact is minimal.
In the 1940s and 50s, radon was used for industrial radiography, Other X-ray sources, which became available after World War II, quickly replaced radon for this application, as they were lower in cost and had less hazard of alpha radiation.
Radon-222 (actually radon progeny) has been classified by International Agency for Research on Cancer as being carcinogenic to humans, and as a gas that can be inhaled, lung cancer is a particular concern for people exposed to high levels of radon for sustained periods of time. During the 1940s and 50s, when safety standards requiring expensive ventilation in mines were not widely implemented, radon exposure was linked to lung cancer among non-smoking miners of uranium and other hard rock materials in what is now the Czech Republic, and later among miners from the Southwestern United States and South Australia.
Since that time, ventilation and other measures have been used to reduce radon levels in most affected mines that continue to operate. In recent years, the average annual exposure of uranium miners has fallen to levels similar to the concentrations inhaled in some homes. This has reduced the risk of occupationally induced cancer from radon, although health issues may persist for those who are currently employed in affected mines and for those who have been employed in them in the past. As the relative risk for miners has decreased, so has the ability to detect excess risks among that population.
In addition to lung cancer, researchers have theorized a possible increased risk of leukemia due to radon exposure. Empirical support from studies of the general population is inconsistent. However, a study of uranium miners found a noticeable correlation between radon exposure and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Radon exposure (actually radon progeny) has been linked to lung cancer in numerous case-control studies performed in the United States, Europe and China. There are approximately 21,000 deaths per year in the USA due to radon-induced lung cancers. One of the most comprehensive radon studies performed in the United States by Dr. R. William Field and colleagues found a 50% increased lung cancer risk even at the protracted exposures at the EPA's action level of 4 pCi/L. North American and European Pooled analyses further support these findings.
Most models of residential radon exposure are based on studies of miners, and direct estimates of the risks posed to homeowners would be more desirable. Nonetheless, because of the difficulties of measuring the risk of radon relative to other contributors—namely smoking—models of their effect have often made use of them.
Radon has been considered the second leading cause of lung cancer and leading environmental cause of cancer mortality by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Others have reached similar conclusions for the United Kingdom and France. Radon exposure in homes and offices may arise from certain subsurface rock formations, and also from certain building materials (e.g., some granites). The greatest risk of radon exposure arises in buildings that are airtight, insufficiently ventilated, and have foundation leaks that allow air from the soil into basements and dwelling rooms.
Action and reference level
WHO presented in 2009 a recommended reference level (the national reference level), 100 Bq/m3, for radon in dwellings. The recommendation also says that where this is not possible, 300 Bq/m3 should be selected as the highest level. A national reference level should not be a limit, but should represent the maximum acceptable annual average radon concentration in a dwelling.
The actionable concentration of radon in a home varies depending on the organization doing the recommendation, for example, the United States Environmental Protection Agency encourages that action be taken at concentrations as low as 74 Bq/m3 (2 pCi/L), and the European Union recommends action be taken when concentrations reach 400 Bq/m3 (11 pCi/L) for old houses and 200 Bq/m3 (5 pCi/L) for new ones. On 8 July 2010 the UK's Health Protection Agency issued new advice setting a "Target Level" of 100 Bq/m3 whilst retaining an "Action Level" of 200 Bq/m3. The same levels (as UK) apply to Norway from 2010; in all new housings preventative measures should be taken against radon accumulation.
Relationship to smoking
Results from epidemiological studies indicate that the risk of lung cancer increases with exposure to residential radon. However, there are always major uncertainties in these studies. A classical and well-known example of source of error is smoking. In addition, smoking is the most important risk factor for lung cancer. In the West, tobacco smoke is estimated to cause about 90% of all lung cancers. There is a tendency for other hypothetical lung cancer risks to drown in the risk of smoking. Results from epidemiological studies must always be interpreted with caution.
According to the EPA, the risk of lung cancer for smokers is significant due to synergistic effects of radon and smoking. For this population about 62 people in a total of 1,000 will die of lung cancer compared to 7 people in a total of 1,000 for people who have never smoked. It can, however, not be excluded that the risk of non-smokers should be primarily explained by a combination effect of radon and passive smoking (see below).
Radon, like other known or suspected external risk factors for lung cancer, is a threat for smokers and former smokers. This was clearly demonstrated by the European pooling study. A commentary to the pooling study stated: "it is not appropriate to talk simply of a risk from radon in homes. The risk is from smoking, compounded by a synergistic effect of radon for smokers. Without smoking, the effect seems to be so small as to be insignificant."
According to the European pooling study, there is a difference in risk from radon between histological types. Small cell lung carcinoma, which practically only affects smokers have high risk from radon. For other histological types such as adenocarcinoma, the type that primarily affects never smokers, the risk from radon appears to be lower.
A study of radiation from post mastectomy radiotherapy shows that the simple models previously used to assess the combined and separate risks from radiation and smoking need to be developed. This is also supported by new discussion about the calculation method, LNT, which routinely has been used.
Relationship to passive smoking
An important question is if also passive smoking can cause a similar synergy effect with residential radon. This has been insufficiently studied. The basic data for the European pooling study makes it impossible to exclude that such synergy effect is an explanation for the (very limited) increase in the risk from radon that was stated for non-smokers.
A study from 2001, which included 436 cases (never smokers who had lung cancer), and a control group (1649 never smokers) showed that exposure to radon increased the risk of lung cancer in never smokers. But the group that had been exposed to passive smoking at home appeared to bear the entire risk increase, while those who were not exposed to passive smoking did not show any increased risk with increasing radon level.
In drinking water
The effects of radon if ingested are similarly unknown, although studies have found that its biological half-life ranges from 30–70 minutes, with 90 percent removal at 100 minutes. In 1999 National Research Council investigated the issue of radon in drinking water. The risks associated with ingestion was considered almost negligible. Water from underground sources may contain significant amounts of radon depending on the surrounding rock and soil conditions, whereas surface sources generally do not.
As well as being ingested through drinking water, radon is also released from water when temperature is increased, pressure is decreased and when water is aerated. Optimum conditions for radon release and exposure occur during showering. Water with a radon concentration of 104 pCi/L can increase the indoor airborne radon concentration by 1 pCi/L under normal conditions of water use.
Testing and mitigation
There are relatively simple tests for radon gas. In some countries these tests are methodically done in areas of known systematic hazards. Radon detection devices are commercially available. The short-term radon test devices used for screening purposes are inexpensive, in some cases free. There are very important protocols for taking short-term radon tests and it is imperative that they be strictly followed. The kit includes a collector that the user hangs in the lowest livable floor of the house for 2 to 7 days. The user then sends the collector to a laboratory for analysis. Long term kits, taking collections for up to one year, are also available. An open-land test kit can test radon emissions from the land before construction begins.
Radon levels fluctuate naturally, due to factors like transient weather conditions, so an initial test might not be an accurate assessment of a home's average radon level. Radon levels are at a maximum during the coolest part of the day when pressure differentials are greatest. Therefore, a high result (over 4 pCi/L) justifies repeating the test before undertaking more expensive abatement projects. Measurements between 4 and 10 pCi/L warrant a long term radon test. Measurements over 10 pCi/L warrant only another short term test so that abatement measures are not unduly delayed. Purchasers of real estate are advised to delay or decline a purchase if the seller has not successfully abated radon to 4 pCi/L or less.
Because the half-life of radon is only 3.8 days, removing or isolating the source will greatly reduce the hazard within a few weeks. Another method of reducing radon levels is to modify the building's ventilation. Generally, the indoor radon concentrations increase as ventilation rates decrease. In a well ventilated place, the radon concentration tends to align with outdoor values (typically 10 Bq/m3, ranging from 1 to 100 Bq/m3).
- Sub-slab depressurization (soil suction) by increasing under-floor ventilation;
- Improving the ventilation of the house and avoiding the transport of radon from the basement into living rooms;
- Installing a radon sump system in the basement;
- Installing a positive pressurization or positive supply ventilation system.
According to the EPA the method to reduce radon "...primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside," which is also called sub-slab depressurization, active soil depressurization, or soil suction. Generally indoor radon can be mitigated by sub-slab depressurization and exhausting such radon-laden air to the outdoors, away from windows and other building openings. "EPA generally recommends methods which prevent the entry of radon. Soil suction, for example, prevents radon from entering your home by drawing the radon from below the home and venting it through a pipe, or pipes, to the air above the home where it is quickly diluted" and "EPA does not recommend the use of sealing alone to reduce radon because, by itself, sealing has not been shown to lower radon levels significantly or consistently".
Positive-pressure ventilation systems can be combined with a heat exchanger to recover energy in the process of exchanging air with the outside, and simply exhausting basement air to the outside is not necessarily a viable solution as this can actually draw radon gas into a dwelling. Homes built on a crawl space may benefit from a radon collector installed under a "radon barrier" (a sheet of plastic that covers the crawl space). For crawlspaces, the EPA states "An effective method to reduce radon levels in crawlspace homes involves covering the earth floor with a high-density plastic sheet. A vent pipe and fan are used to draw the radon from under the sheet and vent it to the outdoors. This form of soil suction is called submembrane suction, and when properly applied is the most effective way to reduce radon levels in crawlspace homes."
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|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Radon.|
|40x40px||Look up radon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|40x40px||Wikiversity has learning materials about Radon atom|
- Radon and radon publications at the United States Environmental Protection Agency
- National Radon Program Services hosted by Kansas State University
- Radon Information from the UK Health Protection Agency
- Frequently Asked Questions About Radon at National Safety Council
- Radon at The Periodic Table of Videos (University of Nottingham)
- Radon and Lung Health from the American Lung Association
- Radon's impact on your health – Lung Association
- The Geology of Radon, James K. Otton, Linda C.S. Gundersen, and R. Randall Schumann
- Map referring to radon concentrations in England and Wales
- Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon An article by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)
- EPA Federal Radon Mitigation Action Plan
- Toxicological Profile for Radon, Draft for Public Comment, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, September 2008
- Health Effects of Exposure to Radon: BEIR VI. Committee on Health Risks of Exposure to Radon (BEIR VI), National Research Council available on-line
- UNSCEAR 2000 Report to the General Assembly, with scientific annexes: Annex B: Exposures from natural radiation sources.
- Should you measure the radon concentration in your home?, Phillip N. Price, Andrew Gelman, in Statistics: A Guide to the Unknown, January 2004.
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